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J Ment Health. 2010 Apr;19(2):127-41. doi: 10.3109/09638230903469186.

Anticonvulsants in bipolar disorder.

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  • 1School of Neurology, Neurobiology and Psychiatry, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Anticonvulsant drugs are widely used in psychiatric indications. This includes alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, panic and anxiety disorders, dementia, schizophrenia, and to some extent personality disorders. Besides pain syndromes, their main domain outside epilepsy, however, is bipolar disorder. Carbamazepine, valproate, and lamotrigine are meanwhile recognized mood stabilizers, but several other antiepileptic drugs have also been tried out with diverging or inconclusive results. Understanding the mechanisms of action and identifying similarities between anticonvulsants effective in bipolar disorder may also enhance our understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of the disorder.

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